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Ephrata, Othello airports awarded FAA grants

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | April 2, 2021 1:00 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, announced $2.3 million in federal grants to six small central Washington airports, including those in Ephrata and Othello.

As part of the award, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a $300,000 grant to the Port of Ephrata for runway and taxiway sealing at the Ephrata Municipal Airport and $450,000 to the Port of Othello to construct a new taxi lane for aircraft access to and from the airfield.

“We’re putting a seal coat on the runway,” said Mike Wren, the executive director of the Port of Ephrata. “It was last done in 2014 or 2015, and it preserves the life of the pavement.”

Wren said the port has just put the work out to bid, and so does not know how much the project will cost.

Chris Faix, the executive director of the Port of Othello, said the proposed taxi lane will provide access to the new, 10-bay hangar currently under construction at the Othello Municipal Airport, and put a “nice oval” around all four of the airport’s hangars.

Faix said the port just received bids for the work, and hopes to award the contract sometime in the next week or two.

“It should be a pretty quick project, done in three weeks from start to finish, depending on the weather,” he said.

The FAA also awarded a $408,000 grant to the Port of Benton for a new taxiway at the Prosser Airport, another $150,000 to the Port of Benton to replace airfield signs at the Richland Airport, $750,000 to the Port of Pasco for a new taxiway at the Tri-Cities Airport, and $300,000 to the city of Sunnyside to update the Sunnyside Municipal Airport’s master plan.

“Local airports spur a significant amount of economic development throughout our district and provide a steady source of income for our communities,” Newhouse said in a press release. “These grants are a substantial federal investment that will allow these airports to implement important safety measures and continue to support local jobs.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.